The Jeff Wise Blog

What is Going On Inside Travis Pastrana’s Brain??

If only you could somehow run an fMRI scan on someone while they were doing a backflip on a Big Wheel…

Filed under: sports

5 Responses

  1. I am not sure if this is about not having fear at all or about having fear and overcoming it. One could be called brave, I suppose, and the other could be called completely disconnected, without feeling.

    • Jeff Wise says:

      I agree — I’m not sure what to make of his behavior. The fact that he’s still alive and ambulatory mean that he must know what he’s doing. And he certainly seems to be enjoying himself. But I can’t imagine undertaking anything like this myself.

  2. Another thought about this (like of so many other things in life), would this young person be doing this if absolutely nobody came to watch or even knew that he was doing this (or that he had already done this?) Would there be wars if some could not come back from war as a hero?

    • Jeff Wise says:

      Good question. Boys have always built ramps out of cinderblocks and planks of wood and ridden their bikes over them, and broken bones doing so, but I wonder if YouTube (which is filled with thousands of videos of such exploits) has led them to ever greater heights and crazier stunts.

  3. […] (video here) and back-flipped a child’s Big Wheel off a huge jump called a megaramp (video here). But contrary to common belief, Pastrana is not immune to fear — in fact, almost every night […]

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Thinking About Fear & the Brain

If I find myself in a severe crisis, will I be able to keep it together? How can I control anxiety and panic? Is it possible to lead a life less bounded by fear? These are the sorts of questions that I'll be exploring in this blog, an offshoot of my book, Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger, published on December 8, 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Video Introduction

Also by Jeff Wise

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